Strawberry Focaccia Faux Cheese Danish

A strawberry focaccia cheese danish? Where to start?  This idea floated my way via Living magazine, and I though, there’s an idea – a low fat, simplified version of a cheese danish, that doesn’t involve strategically layering a pound of butter into your dough – stellar! I had to try it, at least once and, of course, added my own spin to it.  I wanted to use seasonal fruits, instead of the apricots, so I settled on strawberries.  Instead of a traditional focaccia dough that is typically suffused with olive oil, I settled on an enriched bread dough.  I also added some lemon zest and honey to flavor my cream cheese.

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Strawberry Topping:

  • 1 lb hulled Strawberries (you can use frozen)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  1.  In a high sided pot, combine the strawberries and sugar, and place them over medium heat on the stove top.
  2. Cook the strawberries until the sugar has melted into a thin strawberry syrup and the berries are still whole.  You don’t want to cook them to the point of creating a jam, but enough to concentrate that rich strawberry flavor.  Remove the barrier from the heat and allow them to cool.  You can even do this the day before, and store the berries in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

Bread:

  • 1 cup warm Milk
  • 2 tbsp melted Butter
  • 1 tbsp dry active Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2.5-3.5 cups Flour
  1. Combine the milk butter and yeast, and set it aside for about 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Add in the honey, salt, and 1 cup of flour.
  3. Gradually, stir in the remaining flour, until the bread begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  The dough will be soft and sticky.
  4. Knead the dough for a few minutes. It’s best to do this by machine since the dough is so sticky
  5. Place the dough in a well greased container, and allow it to rise until doubled, or store in the refrigerator and allow it to slow rise overnight.
  6. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.  Large enough to sufficiently cover the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  7. Line the greased baking dish with the dough.
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise until doubled.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350 F. (~177 C).

Cream Cheese:

  • 8 oz Cream Cheese (room temp)
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • zest from 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  1. Whip together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and honey.
  2. Whip in the sour cream until the cream cheese mixture is nice and smooth.
  3. Scoop the cream cheese over the risen dough.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  5. Allow the bread to cool slightly before gently scooping the strawberries and their sauce over the faux-danish.

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